CONTROL files are deprecated and only retained for backwards compatibility with earlier versions of vcpkg. Use vcpkg.json manifest files for any newly authored port.

Use ./vcpkg format-manifest path/to/CONTROL to convert an existing CONTROL file to a vcpkg.json file.

The CONTROL file contains metadata about the port. The syntax is based on the Debian control format although we only support the subset of fields documented here.

Field names are case-sensitive and start the line without leading whitespace. Paragraphs are separated by one or more empty lines.

Source Paragraph

The first paragraph in a CONTROL file is the Source paragraph. It must have a Source, Version, and Description field. The full set of fields is documented below.


Source: ace
Version: 6.5.5
Description: The ADAPTIVE Communication Environment
Source: vtk
Version: 8.2.0
Port-Version: 2
Description: Software system for 3D computer graphics, image processing, and visualization
Build-Depends: zlib, libpng, tiff, libxml2, jsoncpp, glew, freetype, expat, hdf5, libjpeg-turbo, proj4, lz4, libtheora, atlmfc (windows), eigen3, double-conversion, pugixml, libharu, sqlite3, netcdf-c

Recognized fields


The name of the port.

When adding new ports be aware that the name may conflict with other projects that are not a part of vcpkg. For example json conflicts with too many other projects so you should add a scope to the name such as taocpp-json to make it unique. Verify there are no conflicts on a search engine as well as on other package collections.

Package collections to check for conflicts:


The library version.

This field is an alphanumeric string that may also contain ., _, or -. No attempt at ordering versions is made; all versions are treated as bit strings and are only evaluated for equality.

For tagged-release ports, we follow the following convention:

  1. If the port follows a scheme like va.b.c, we remove the leading v. In this case, it becomes a.b.c.
  2. If the port includes its own name in the version like curl-7_65_1, we remove the leading name: 7_65_1

For rolling-release ports, we use the date that the commit was accessed by you, formatted as YYYY-MM-DD. Stated another way: if someone had a time machine and went to that date, they would see this commit as the latest master.

For example, given:

  1. The latest commit was made on 2019-04-19
  2. The current version string is 2019-02-14-1
  3. Today's date is 2019-06-01.

Then if you update the source version today, you should give it version 2019-06-01.


The version of the port.

This field is a non-negative integer. It allows one to version the port file separately from the version of the underlying library; if you make a change to a port, without changing the underlying version of the library, you should increment this field by one (starting at 0, which is equivalent to no Port-Version field). When the version of the underlying library is upgraded, this field should be set back to 0 (i.e., delete the Port-Version field).

Version: 1.0.5
Port-Version: 2
Version: 2019-03-21


A description of the library.

By convention the first line of the description is a summary of the library. An optional detailed description follows. The detailed description can be multiple lines, all starting with whitespace.

Description: C++ header-only JSON library
Description: Mosquitto is an open source message broker that implements the MQ Telemetry Transport protocol versions 3.1 and 3.1.1.
  MQTT provides a lightweight method of carrying out messaging using a publish/subscribe model. This makes it suitable for "machine
  to machine" messaging such as with low power sensors or mobile devices such as phones, embedded computers or microcontrollers like the Arduino.


The URL of the homepage for the library where a user is able to find additional documentation or the original source code.




Comma separated list of vcpkg ports the library has a dependency on.

vcpkg does not distinguish between build-only dependencies and runtime dependencies. The complete list of dependencies needed to successfully use the library should be specified.

For example: websocketpp is a header only library, and thus does not require any dependencies at install time. However, downstream users need boost and openssl to make use of the library. Therefore, websocketpp lists boost and openssl as dependencies.

If the port is dependent on optional features of another library those can be specified using the portname[featurelist] syntax. If the port does not require any features from the dependency, this should be specified as portname[core].

Dependencies can be filtered based on the target triplet to support differing requirements. These filters use the same syntax as the Supports field below and are surrounded in parentheses following the portname and feature list.

Build-Depends: rapidjson, curl[core,openssl] (!windows), curl[core,winssl] (windows)


Comma separated list of optional port features to install by default.

This field is optional.

Default-Features: dynamodb, s3, kinesis


Expression that evaluates to true when the port is expected to build successfully for a triplet.

Currently, this field is only used in the CI testing to skip ports. In the future, this mechanism is intended to warn users in advance that a given install tree is not expected to succeed. Therefore, this field should be used optimistically; in cases where a port is expected to succeed 10% of the time, it should still be marked "supported".

See Platform Expressions in the vcpkg.json manifest documentation for the list of supported identifiers.

Supports: !(uwp|arm)

Feature Paragraphs

Multiple optional features can be specified in the CONTROL files. It must have a Feature and Description field. It can optionally have a Build-Depends field. It must be separated from other paragraphs by one or more empty lines.


Source: vtk
Version: 8.2.0-2
Description: Software system for 3D computer graphics, image processing, and visualization
Build-Depends: zlib, libpng, tiff, libxml2, jsoncpp, glew, freetype, expat, hdf5, libjpeg-turbo, proj4, lz4, libtheora, atlmfc (windows), eigen3, double-conversion, pugixml, libharu, sqlite3, netcdf-c

Feature: openvr
Description: OpenVR functionality for VTK
Build-Depends: sdl2, openvr

Feature: qt
Description: Qt functionality for VTK
Build-Depends: qt5

Feature: mpi
Description: MPI functionality for VTK
Build-Depends: mpi, hdf5[parallel]

Feature: python
Description: Python functionality for VTK
Build-Depends: python3

Recognized fields


The name of the feature.


A description of the feature using the same syntax as the port Description field.


The list of dependencies required to build and use this feature.

On installation the dependencies from all selected features are combined to produce the full dependency list for the build. This field follows the same syntax as Build-Depends in the Source Paragraph.